A table for coffee, traditionally, was necessary in the middle of the living room. Home entertaining was a serious affair in the old days, because of the ceremony of afternoon tea. When a guest makes a house call, he or she must sit in the cushions, and must be served tea or coffee, with some biscuits or crepes. These will be arranged in a tray, with a delicate china service, and then served and placed upon the coffee table. Then, the afternoon will be whiled away with conversation, stories, and news.
But that is not confirmed. Coffee started to grow more and more in popularity not only in America but all over Europe it already had a strong following. After the 1812 war, Britain put a ban on all imports of tea to America. So Americans naturally drank less and less of tea and more and more of coffee. Finally coffee in America seemed to get that edge over tea that is hasnt lost since. But where does the table come in?
Coffee tables and end tables are examples of occasional furniture. There are alternative definitions for this type of furniture, the two most common being furniture that is used on an occasion, and furniture that is used only occasionally. Each of these definitions is so broad, that they could practically be said to be fundamentally the same. The former definition would include coffee tables, used on the occasion of drinking coffee - or any other beverage or drink.
It would also include all furniture used in a lounge used only when visitors arrive, or even in a spare guest room. Definitions are a poor way to describe furniture. The second definition used occasionally would refer to exactly the same furniture, but also include rockers, particularly the old-style hickory rockers that you might use occasionally when in the mood. You might occasionally use an ottoman to sit on if all the family arrived to visit. Quite frankly, definitions are needless when people know what occasional furniture is.
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